Huntington Friends Redefine Communal Living

By Eric Olson

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)-This is a story about friendship, deep friendship…and what it can mean in later life. Nearly forty years ago these eight friends, four couples, met in church, discovered common interests and began spending time with each other. For four decades they have dined together, traveled the world together, and helped each other through life’s trials. And now these four couples, the Everly’s, the Pipperts, the Millers and the Augspurgers,…have chosen to grow old together.

“That is going to help keep us younger,” says John Everly, “and keep our minds a little bit sharper. We’re gonna be healthy longer.”

The friends bought 20 acres near Huntington and built four homes on the property, a little corner of heaven with woods, trails, stream and pond. One house has a gym, another a theatre room, another a wood shop and the fourth a hot tub. The friends are always doing something together.

David Miller:”I did not want to wind up as a stereotypical retiree that sits in a chair and is dead within 13 months,” says David Miller, “and by living with all these different people we encourage and prod each other into staying active and doing things.”

“We’re already doing errands for each other,” says Mary June Augspurger. “We are. It’s a senior commune. That’s exactly what it is.”

And as they age these friends have agreed to care for one another, help each other to stay in their homes as long as possible and avoid the nursing home.

“In older age if you lose your spouse you’re left out of a lot of things,” says Ray Pippert. “We’ve known each other for 30-40 years and when one of our spouses dies the other person will still be included in activities, in meals. They won’t suddenly be out in the cold.”

What these friends are doing is redefining assisted living…pooling resources, effort and energy to create a single family out of four…strengthening the bonds that have held them together, as they enter the final stage of well-lived life. Eric Olson reporting, out in Your Country.

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